Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Sporophila nuttingi)

The Nicaraguan Seed-Finch is one of Costa Rica’s biggest finches species, only surpassed by the Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, which is even rarer and has a longer tail. It looks similar to the Thick-billed Seed-Finch, with the male being uniformly black and the female uniformly brown, albeit with a bigger size. Their bills are undoubtely specialized for breaking down seeds and the male’s bill is particularly conspicuous, given its pink coloration. In Costa Rica, it can be found in lowland areas of the northern area, near the border with Nicaragua, and in a thin strip along the eastern coast of the Caribbean.

Large-footed Finch (Pezopetes capitalis)

The Large-footed Finch is large in comparison with most other species in the finch family. They prefer to stay on the ground, and at first might resemble small chickens due to their common behavior of scratching the leaf litter for food with their legs. Their overall color is olive, with a gray head and black face; also note the black strips running from the face to the back of the neck. Their main habitat is the highlands at Central (Volcan Barva, Cerro Buenavista) and Talamanca cordilleras. It delivers a song at intervals, composed of high-pitched whistles.

Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola)

The Saffron Finch is pretty conspicuous, since it has a bright yellow coloration and forages on the ground in groups of three or more, making them easy to spot against the green grass. The adult has an orange patch on the front of the head. The juvenile is streaked on the back and wings, and have a lighter yellow coloration on the belly. They are often kept caged by people, and when free they frequent suburban areas and are very tolerant of human presence.

Plumbeous Sierra-Finch (Phrygilus unicolor)

Sierra-Finch is an appropriate name for this species, as they are specialized to live from 3,000 meters above sea level at higher. They are mostly seed eaters and take advantage of plants of the subparamo and paramo region. The male is gray in coloration, but sometimes looks blueish on overcast lighting. The female on the other side is streaked in a combination of brown, black and gray. While being a shy species, getting them at eye level is fairly easy, as the vegetation at such altitudes does not grow very tall, and due to the low oxygen content, they stay perched for long periods of time, presumably to conserve precious energy.

Phelps’ Brush-Finch (Arremon perijanus)

The Phelps’ Brush-Finch is part of the Arremon genus, which has a variety of species that distribute through all South America, a few of which occur in Costa Rica. They are small birds that hop in the ground and forage by snatching worms and insects from their hides. Its back and wings are olive in coloration, with gray flanks that join with the supercilliary. It has black cheeks and a black line above the supercilliary, with a gray line that goes through the center of the head, and those features give it a striped look. It has a white throat and chest. Their eyes are reddish-brown.